TWiP 381 – The Definitive Guide to Photo Storage

In this special round­table episode of TWiP, we dive DEEP into the mysterious world of image backup and archiving. Industry experts Don Komarechka, Topher Martini and Doug Kaye join Frederick Van Johnson to help remove some of the mystery around keeping your precious photos safe.

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  1. This is my first viewing of a TWiP video. I hate the discussion at the beginning. I came for info about storage. Not the nuptial updates and recent travels of the guests. Minutes later there is still talking of bears… You billed it as storage info…

    1. Like @donkomarechka:disqus says Matt — the beauty of digital recordings is that you can >>skip the bits that don’t interest you. But I must say, “hate” is a pretty strong word to describe an otherwise brief and innocuous discussion, yes?

    2. I don’t know how many (video-)podcasts you follow but it is pretty usual for a regular show to do some off topic stuff at first. It gets the people in the mood and helps the listener to build a kind of connection. Most of the successful (=longer running) podcasts I know do that in one way or another.
      The thing with titles is that they can’t cover the whole information as they have to be short. If a show brings news about many subjects (like TWiP is many times) how would you call it?

    3. TWiP is not asking for critique of their podcast, so I’ll won’t rant too hard.

      I’ve listened to the podcast since the beginning with Scott Bourne and I still listen, because it focuses on the news we all care about. But just because a podcast is long running doesn’t make it great, it might just mean some people have the time to make a podcast. Many fantastic photographers (and other creatives) want to make podcasts, but simply don’t have time, because they are out taking photos.

      If you listen to TWiP every week, the introductions get a bit tiresome. Mostly because it’s the same guests on repeat and I already know what they do. If it was brief, it would help. I think TWiP run too long in general, but it’s the nature of youtube hang outs or lightly edited podcasts.

      Not that Frederick is asking for tips, but here are a couple anyways:

      – If possible, try and get guest hosts, that actually care about the stories. I know they might be planned weeks in advance, but what good does a discussion about Instagram do, if the guests hate it or don’t care.

      – Different guests! There are a million photographers on G+, 500px etc that do fantastic work and I’m sure some they like to be featured.

      – Pick of the Week – Love the feature and I have been introduced to many great things, but Frederik doesn’t have to explain what it is every week. Most listeners are most likely repeat and know the drill, if not, they will understand it right away. It’s called picks of the week. Not really an issue, more of a pet peeve 😀

      – Length of podcast – I wish it was shorter, less banter and redundant jokes or metaphors. I like the personalities to shine through and I don’t mind off topic stuff, but too often it take forever to get back on track and I think editing the podcast a bit would make it leaner and more inviting to new listeners.

      Just some food for thought.

      I enjoy the podcast and I don’t want to slam TWiP, you guys do great work.

    4. For me the first topics and the talk in the beginning of the show is a way to know the persons a bit more personal. And yes it is a way for them to build their brands and “sell” upcoming workshop

  2. Matt, the beautiful thing about watching a TWiP video is that you can skip ahead and bypass the banter and personal updates that accompany each episode. Sorry that you didn’t find that part of the discussion interesting, but nearly all of the episode is dedicated to the subject of storage. I hope you got to “the good stuff” before giving up!

  3. Something I don’t understand about the bandwidth argument for avoiding cloud backup providers is this: given that your pipeline to the Internet is going to be the gating factor, once you have the initial backup in place there is no benefit to having a private cloud solution from a bandwidth perspective. I can backup 75GB a day to BackBlaze. At that rate it took two weeks for my initial 1TB backup. It would be worth it for me to go with BackBlaze even if that initial backup took twice as long. I’d have to shoot at a rate of 2000 images every day on my D800 to generate 75GB of new data each day, assuming I deleted nothing. I delete upwards of 80% of my images. Since I’ve been on Backblaze this past year my backup has grown by only 200GB, standing at 1.2TB right now. I think you undersold the viability of cloud backup for the average enthusiast. The benefits of set it and forget it and unlimited backup at low cost (<$50 a year) is huge. And no, I'm not in retainer from Backblaze.

    1. For my off-site storage (at a friends house) I created the initial backup here at home and just took the full Diskstation to his place. Likewise, in case of a catastrophic data loss, I just have to drive to his place and pick it up. The online connection is just use for the incremental backups.

  4. A pretty big point about DNG that wasn’t mentioned in this discussion is that the checksum validation in DNG means you can validate files (a) were copied to backup safely exactly as intended with no corruption or data loss, and (b) you can go back later and run the validation to see they’re still OK and haven’t suffered from bit-rot, virus, or other problem. For serious archivists, this is a big deal and makes DNG all the more attractive. More info here

  5. I have about 3 TB backed up on a 4 drive local external enclosure and online with CrashPlan. CrashPlan coordinates both local and online backups. CrashPlan also handles versions of files in case you need to recover a prior copy of a file. My internet connection performs at 16 MB/s upload speeds. The initial backup required several weeks which wasn’t a big deal for me. I have tried several other backup systems. This is the most reliable, easy, and cost effective. I also have CrashPlan on my kids and wifes computers.

  6. Good discussion. I don’t think my 3x2TB WD My Passport backed up to a series of 3 TB drives stored off site is a long term solution. It’s too cumbersome which means I’ll go for a week or more without backing up my WD’s and that means 1 or 2 shoots are only on one drive. Not good. Also, I’m always concerned with the actual media format changing. Seriously, how many photos are stuck on 5 1/2 floppy drives, CD’s, etc. The type of media all but a few computers even read any longer.

  7. Is there a CF option of the WD drive? Or something similar? The hyperdrive seems overkill comparatively, and they are tiny by today’s standards.

    1. No CF on the WD drives. You can get a Hyperdrive without a drive installed and add one of any capacity you choose.

  8. Really informative podcast! I really enjoyed the roundtable discussion, especially with the expertise present at the table. One issue I’d like to raise though. This is in regards to setting up a personal server (I believe Doug Kaye’s solution). I recall looking into this possibility several years ago and I ran into two problems: 1) My ISP had a statement in my agreement that personal servers weren’t allowed, and 2) ISPs frequently rotate IP addresses every few months, which makes is difficult to keep the server accessible 24×7. Just curious if these problems with ISPs are still around.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Steve. Both I and my friend (where the remote server is located) use Comcast as our ISP. Although Comcast may say they have a limit, we haven’t seen them enforcing it. And the link is only used for incremental up[dates, which means only new images (RAW files) are transmitted. As for the changing IP addresses, Comcast hasn’t changed mine for years. Even if they do, we have the option of using “dynamic DNS” so that we’re not dependent on the specific IP addresses. We just haven’t bothered with this since it doesn’t seem necessary.

  9. Excellent Show…. great discussion. This topic will never have a perfect solution with the differences in everyone’s workflow and lifestyle, we will continue to discuss this forever.

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